11 July 2008

'The Darling of Heaven'

From "Unbelievers Contempt the Glory of Christ," a 1736 sermon by Jonathan Edwards.

Christ is the darling of heaven, he was eternally God's delight; and because of his glory God has thought him worthy to be appointed the heir of all things. . . . Is he thus worthy of the infinite esteem and love of God himself? and is he worthy of no esteem from you?

Edwards is showing that if God the Father himself has been adoring Christ from all eternity, what possible room for excuse could there possibly be that we, too, therefore, do not adore him. And here's an especially convicting passage.

Contempt of any person is heinous in proportion to the worthiness and dignity of the person contempted. Though we are but worms of the dust, and very vile, sinful creatures; yet we take it grievously when we are despised. Consider how you yourselves are ready to resent it, when any of your neighbors seem to slight you. . . . Are you not ready to look upon it with resentment, and to judge that you have great cause to be offended?

But if it be such a crime to despise you and set you at nought, what is it to set at naught the eternal infinitely glorious Son of God, in comparison with whom you and all nations are nothing, and less than nothing, and vanity? You dislike it much to be contempted by your equals; but you would take it yet more grievously to be despised by your inferiors, by those whom, on every account, you must excel. What a crime is it then for a vile, sinful worm, to set at nought him who is the brightness of the glory of the King of kings! (Hickman ed., 2:63)

For me, my eyes are opened both to how easily I needlessly and pridefully feel offended by others, my equals, and also how weightless a thing it has seemed to me how patient God is with me instead of, as I do toward others, allowing my silly selfishnesses to offend him. I am just beginning to understand grace.

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